Crowd bans crucial to slow spread of outbreak
A LEADING Gold Coast doctor said he believes mass gathering bans to prevent the spread of coronavirus cannot wait until Monday.
Dr Philip Morris, Head of the Gold Coast Medical Association (GCMA) said any advice against organised gatherings of 500 or more people should have been put in place days earlier.
His comments follow an announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday afternoon, who advised against static seated events of 500 people or more after the weekend.
"The Grand Prix has been cancelled, we now need to have all football games this weekend behind closed doors and have them televised," Dr Morris told the Bulletin.
"These steps should be taken immediately, they cannot wait until Monday so everyone can spend their Saturday and Sunday in big crowds."
Subsequently, both the Titans and Suns announced matches in the new National Rugby League and Australian Football League seasons would be closed to fans.
Dr Morris said the object of the social distancing measures was to slow the spread of the virus, ultimately easing the pressure on hospitals.
"We do not want the peak of the epidemic to overtake the capacity of health services like we are seeing in Italy.
"This means we need to prevent the speed of infection as much as possible.
"If you reduce social interaction you can reduce the number of people infected at one time.
"If we do nothing about it, infection will become an exponential curve and our health services will suffer."
Dr Morris who works with elderly patients said there was a lot of anxiety in the community.
"People in nursing homes and other places are very worried, families are very worried - the death rate in older people is much higher.
"If we can flatten the peak of the epidemic, and extend the infection over a period of time we can ensure people are able to get the treatment they need."
The GCMA has postponed any gatherings in the near future and will conduct all its meetings via webinar.
"We are only expecting about 40 people next week, but because of our strong feelings on the matter of social distancing we will be staying at home and interaction online," Dr Morris said.
"We think everyone should be aware and be practising social distancing, the Government is now starting to realise and push the message out," he said.
"Stopping the speed of infection should be everyone's priority."